Trauma and Behavior

January 16 2019

I’ve addressed Trauma in past “Tips”, but its impact on our students and their time at school is so large that I think it’s important to discuss it again. Trauma manifests in various forms. A child who is disruptive, combative, or even withdrawn may be exhibiting signs of trauma. This article on Clarity’s 1 in 5 minds for Educators Toolbox addresses the signs of trauma and how you can help your students. A popular phrase in the Trauma Informed Care world is, “there is a need behind every behavior.” For example, a child who is triggered by a past trauma might express their need to feel safe by being combative since their brain automatically enters “fight” mode when they feel threatened.

The best way you can help your students is to bring awareness to those students who might be exhibiting trauma symptoms. Set an appointment with me so we can discuss the students you are concerned about. Most importantly, if a student talks to you about their trauma or just their mental health in general, take this to mean that they trust you and want help. Thank them for talking to you, let them know that you care about them, and reach out to their counselor as soon as possible. Let me know if you are interested in hearing more about trauma and how it affects brain development and behavior.

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